ethical situation in ICT

Record a video where you analyse a particular ethical situation in ICT. The situation must be selected from a list of topics provided on the Unit Moodle site.

The video must include the following:

  1. Background on the topic. This may include an explanation of the technology involved
  2. List of ethical considerations that arise with the topic. Each listed consideration should have a short description/explanation.
  3. An explanation of one selected ethical theory (from the five workable ethical theories covered in lectures)
  4. A proposed scenario related to your topic that raises a need for ethical analysis. You should describe the scenario and the ethical considerations.
  5. Analysis of the scenario and ethical considerations from point 4., using the ethical theory chosen in point 3. The analysis should follow the approach of the ethical theory, clearly state an assumptions made, and come to a conclusion.

Explanations and descriptions must be given such that a student that just started this unit could understand. In other words, assume the audience of your speech is a first year IT student that has not yet taken this unit.

References must be used to support the arguments and should be included in your notes, which should be presented to a professional academic standard.


The video should be recorded as a standard video file using your iPhone/iPad or computer camera. You are not required to include powerpoint slides in your video, but can include these if you think that they are useful, as long as the video also includes video of you presenting.

There is no mandatory format for the notes, however consider the following guidelines:

  • Include your name, student ID and the selected topic title on your notes page.
  • Use section headings to guide the reader.
  • The suggested length for the video is 3 to 5 minutes, and you should aim to write around 100 words of notes to support this length. Alternatively you can write bullet point notes for your video. Make sure you include references to support your ideas in-text (even if you do not say these in your video).


You must submit one video file (avi or mp4 format) on Moodle. You should also submit one (1) Microsoft Word document (docx or doc) with your notes and references. Late submissions will be penalised at a rate of 5% per part of day.

Marking Criteria

A marking sheet is available

Topic List

The ethical scenario you select must be related to one of the following topics. If you want to consider a different topic you must ask the Unit Coordinator at least two weeks before the deadline, and if they agree, they will add the new topic to this list. Any essays on topics not listed below will be penalised.

Note that the following topics may have multiple ethical considerations associated with them. You are allowed to choose any ethical consideration relevant to the topic and description given below.

  1. Information Accuracy and Automation. Software and algorithms are being used to analyse large amounts of information, and produce summary data (e.g. news summarisation). Should the use of the summary data be restricted in some domains? E.g. trading stocks, deciding sentences in court, making government policy or new laws.
  2. Market Domination. Several large companies have dominant market positions in important technologies, e.g. Google with search, Facebook with social networking, Microsoft with operating systems and office software. Should these dominant players be restricted (by laws, policies)?
  3. Robots and relationships. Robots are being used to assist humans, not just physically but emotionally (e.g. elder care, therapy, entertainment). Should robots be used in place of humans in these areas? Are there limits on how robots should be used for psychological/emotional support?
  4. Robots and warfare. Robotics and AI technology is advancing such that fully autonomous robotic weapons will be likely in the near future. Should such weapons be allowed?
  5. Fake News. Society is overwhelmed with information, and the quality of that information is variable. How responsible should social networks be for the quality of the information shared? What obligations do IT companies have to confirm the validity of this information?
  6. Surveillance. Computer vision and other AI software may be used to identify suspicious activities or persons (e.g. in a city, at sporting events). Should such techniques be used to detain people? What limits should be placed on the software (e.g. could it be programmed to identify race)?
  7. Gray Hat Hackers. Should people be able to test security of computer systems without repercussions if they have no malicious intent?
  8. Vulnerability Disclosure. What is a good disclosure policy? Who should be help responsible for vulnerabilities if they are disclosed but not fixed?
  9. Wiretapping. Technology is widely available to easily record communications of other parties, especially with WiFi networks (e.g. mobile phones apps that record other peoples WiFi communications). Who should (not) be allowed to use such technology and under what conditions? Law enforcement? Employers? General public (e.g. recording and viewing neighbours WiFi traffic)?
  10. Drones and Privacy. Personal drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) equipped with high resolution cameras are relatively cheap and readily available. What limits should be placed on the use of such drones with respect to privacy? E.g. should you be allowed to fly and record video over your neighbours backyard?